N64 Debug Menus [Part 3]

By Lameshark | Romhack | 3 May 2023

Super Smash Bros 64 [SSB64] was one of my favorite games growing up. I remember the game being so popular at one time, I was actually in a real life tournament with kids in the neighborhood where we drew brackets like a sports competition. A fighting game with random Nintendo characters sounded strange, but the gameplay was amazing. It was an instant success.

Being an older 3D fighting game, SSB64 has a lot of debug type junk tucked away underneath the surface. Previously, we have covered debug menus from Ocarina of Time and Conker's Bad Fur Day. This game has similar backdoors. Again, we are going to dust off the Gameshark and hop right into the deep recesses of the gaming code.


It took me a few minutes to figure how to load in the Debug menu. You need to start the gameshark code before the main menu. I tested the Battle Debug Menu First, because I felt like playing the actual game. 800A4AD0 0004 [USA]. The Battle Debug controls what you would think. You can select characters that aren't even in the main game, which is really cool. You can play as a polygon character, Giant Donkey Kong etc.


I decided to play as the Glove, which is labeled as "Boss". Surprisingly, I have never played a Romhack of SSB64 that contained a playable Glove, so this was a really fun option: Although the Glove "boss" is basically invincible. You can just fly around in any direction in free mode as the glove. You can use all the boss moves with the controller and I must say, slamming and punching the characters with all my might was very entertaining. You can't grab any items though or throw anyone etc. Be careful not to fly off the map if you use this character!



After the 3 Minute battle was over, the game froze. I decided at this time to skip over to the next Debug Menu: System Debug. 800A4AD0 0003 [USA]. The System Debug menu is mostly for testing music and audio files. Besides a blue box w/ an angry Kerby face; the coolest thing about this Debug Menu is probably an  unused "song" called "Victory Fanfare" which sounds like a group of trumpets announcing to a village that the local King has arrived. There are loads of options in this menu: Some of which do absolutely nothing. There are also audio files called "final smashes" which is a concept that wasn't used until later games.


The Audio Debugger not only has a cool blue Kirby box, but also the black from the previous page folds into a paper airplane and flies away: Revealing a maroon background! Super Smash Bros has the greatest menus, even with the Debug areas. Listening to the secret audio files was cool, but gets boring quickly. I would recommend playing around with this area, but don't expect hours of fun. I listened to the unused Victory Fanfare and also the Final Smashes and then moved to the next Debug Menu.


Next, let's check out the Stage Selector. 800A4AD0 0002 [USA]. This area contains two different Beta versions of the level "Kirby - Dream Land".  One of the levels has very strange platforms and makes me think that the level was going to have a more "in the trees" vibe. The final level is definitely better looking: It's cool to see the evolution of Dream Land. There is also a slightly different version of Yoshi's Island called "Syoshi".




Super Smash Bros 64 has a "Falls Debug", but it's basically dysfunctional at this point. Sometimes debug menus become dysfunctional over time. The game might change too much for the menu to work [because it was an early on debug]. Other times, there might be a third party tool etc. There are a million reasons. Sometimes whole menus will be defunct by the times someone hacks into it.


In conclusion we will test the last Debug menu: Which is an unknown debug menu. Most likely, this menu was used to test controller interaction. 800A4AD0 0006 [USA]. There is something fun about pressing a button and seeing it on the screen. It's like an N64 version of Dance Dance Revolution. The "Unknown Debug" menu is very limited though. This menu was probably used early in the development of Super Smash Bros 64.


Different regional "Unknown Debug" menus. Source: 

Are there more secrets in Super Smash Bros 64 that haven't been discovered yet? Very possibly. According to the research [albeit brief] I did for this blog; fighting games in general have lots of junk and debug type areas. Which means in the future we might need to explore titles like: War Gods, Bio F.R.E.A.K.S, Killer Instincts, Mortal Combat etc. Stay tuned as we continue to use Gamesharks, special ROMs and other backdoors to explore these classic retro N64 games!


Part 2:



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To the subject of "Romhacking" aka taking apart a videogame and creating your own "hacks": This could be a simple graphics improvement or a completely new version of the game. Romhacking can also uncover "secrets" about a game which is called "breaking the game". Romhacking is deeply tied to the emulation of consoles and console games. There is no legal precedent against romhacking, unless it is used for commercial purposes. The following blogs are for educational purposes and are under fair use.

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